Edible Christmas Gifts: Hot Chocolate in a Jar & Festive Biscotti


Merry Christmas.
As I type the words Christmasy-y magic conjures up. Of snowy days, crackling logs in the fireplace, the family gathered around, stockings bulging, gifts unwrapped, colourful wrappers and ribbons floating about, plates of food shared,  steaming cups of hot chocolate, laughter and giggles. Of happy days, of being together, of holding hands, of sharing and caring.
My father made a lot of effort to make Christmas memorable and special for me when I was a kid. Even though we did not really celebrate Christmas, we did celebrate it, if you know what I mean. We had this old tree made with bottle brushes, it came out this time of the year, my father bought all kinds of edible treats and we went about decorating our tree with these. We even had an old Santa, whose red coat was peeling but whose smile was as wide as ever, we positioned him next to the tree. As a kid I remember talking nineteenth to the dozen as I helped my father decorate the tree. But the best bit was when we used to make snow with white cotton wool balls. The trick is to lightly spread it thin so that when you place it on the tree to make it look like snow. Of course most times I would tear the cotton wool balls and get upset. My father would take those torn bits and do his magic. While decorating he would tell me stories of how Jesus was born, the donkey Mary rode on, the  wise men who came to see the new born baby, the gifts they bought along with them. My father is a great story teller and through his stories baby Jesus came alive in my imagination. 


Another memorable thing from my childhood Christmas was going visit the Park Street and then the New Market. Park Street is the restaurant street of Kolkata where there are about thirty to forty eating places mostly serving Anglo Indian food. So this street did/do a Christmas light display which looked magical and twinkle-y and then onto the bakeries of New Market filled with Christmas goodies. 
Of course as I grew up, Christmas decorations and story telling went down the list of my priorities. I was more interested in hanging out with friends. But now when I look back it brings back so many fond memories. 
This year we spent Christmas in London with some of  my blogger buddies and their families at our home. I did up the home and husband and me, we cooked some. On Christmas eve we went to a candle lit mid night service and the day was a relaxed one spent with friends. We also planned to make edible gifts for each other, rather than usual store bought stuff. I decided to bake some biscotti and hot chocolate in a jar.


I decided to make the biscotti festive and seasonal. The original recipe is here.

Ingredients:
i.2 cups of flour
ii. 3/4th cup of granulated white sugar
iii. 1 teaspoon baking powder
iv. A pinch of salt
v. Half a cup of roasted almonds, roughly chopped
vi. Half a cup of raisins soaked in a half a cup of rum (ideally you should be using dark rum, I used white rum)
vii. A tea spoon of orange zest
viii. Half a tea spoon of cinnamon powder
ix. 3 eggs



Method:
i. Soak the raisins in the rum 
ii. Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper
iii. Roast the almonds on a non-stick pan over low medium heat till they turn light brown around the edges and start smelling oh well roasted. You could roast them in your oven, but after burning a big batch of nuts, I stick to the stove top where I have more control. Let the almonds cool down for about 10 mins before chopping them coarsely. I prefer keeping big chunks of almonds, so I mostly just half the almonds
iv. In a big bowl shift in the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients-- baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder and the sugar. Also add the almond chunks and the raisins which were soaking in the rum
v. In a smaller bowl beat the three eggs, add the orange zest
vi.Gradually mix the egg into the dry mix and start working on the dough with your hands. The dough will start coming together within 5 mins or so. You could also use your food processor for this, but it does not take too much time to do this manually
vii. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and work the dough for 2/3 mins more before dividing the dough into two equal halves. Each half should be 18 cm long and 8 to 10 cm wide
viii. Place them on the baking tray leaving space between them and also between the log and the edge of the tray as the logs will expand
ix. Bake them for about 35 mins, then remove them from the oven and cool them for 10 to 15 mins
x. Using a sharp knife cut the logs diagonally, the thickness of each slice should be approx 6-12mm
xi. Place the slices on the baking tray, at this stage you may need two trays and bake for 10 to 15 mins on each side
xii. Once the baking is done, cool the biscotti before putting them in air tight container where it keeps for a couple of weeks



Hot Chocolate in a Jar:

I found this idea from Pinterest, bought the jars from the Matalan store near our home. 

Ingredients to make one jar of hot chocolate:
i. One  glass storage or mason jar. Measurements of the one I used are  Top Diameter 6cm x Bottom Diamater 6cm x Height 11.5cm.
ii. Three fourth cup of white granulated sugar
iii. Three fourth cup of hot chocolate powder, I used Green & Black's
iv. Three fourth cup of powdered milk
v.  Handful of mini marshmallows (I used just white, you could use both pink and white)
vi. Ribbons, washi tapes, strings to decorate the jar 


Method:
i. Wash the jar in warm soapy water and wipe it dry
ii. Pour the sugar, hot chocolate powder and milk powder according to measurement in layers
iii. Top it off with mini marshmallows 
iv. Close the lid and decorate the jar to make it look festive
The idea behind this jar is that whenever your friends want hot chocolate, all they have to do is to scope out some of the layered mixture in their mugs and add some hot water or milk and viola their hot chocolate is ready. I packed some biscotti filled with seasonal cheer to dunk into the chocolate! Now would you not want to get such yummy edible gifts? We are so inspired by our edible gift idea that we plan to do this the next year as well.

5 comments :

  1. this year we had so untypically warm Christmas as for Poland that I almost felt no magic.
    I can however feel Christmas atmosphere reading this post:)

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  2. Beautiful post Suchi. Lovely click with the biscotti. I love the idea of the hot chocolate in mason jar! Truely talented girl!!

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  3. Suchi , Christmas here was cold enough , luckily , no snow :D Homemade biscotti dipped into a cup of piping hot chocolate sounds really good right now ! I love your hot chocolate mix , a delightful gift idea and not only for Christmas !

    Here's wishing you and your family a Happy , Healthy and a Bountiful 2014 !!!

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  4. This looks so ready to pop in mouth kind. Yum !
    Happy New Year to you Suchi !

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hope you are having a great start of 2014. Biscotti happens to be one of my favorite and now I am craving one with my milk.

    ReplyDelete

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